Chapter

Islam in Switzerland: Fragmented Accommodation in a Federal Country

Hans Mahnig

in Muslims in the West

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195148053
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849277 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195148053.003.0005
Islam in Switzerland: Fragmented Accommodation in a Federal Country

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Traditionally a multicultural society, since the end of the 19th-century Switzerland has also become a country of immigration. Since 1945, it has had one of the highest immigration rates in Europe. Today, about one-fifth of its population is foreign born—a figure twice as high as that of the United States and considerably higher than that of Canada. Despite its multicultural character, Switzerland has not yet recognized that it is an immigration country, and it has no real immigrant policy on the federal level. Nevertheless, in practically all cantons religious communities are recognized as corporations under public law, a status that gives them the right to receive public subsidies. The Jewish community is recognized by only four of the twenty-six cantons in this way, Islam by none of them. Unlike the Jews, Muslim immigrants in recent years have begun to challenge the traditional relationship between state and churches in several ways.

Keywords: Switzerland; immigration; Europe; United States; Canada; Islam; Muslim immigrants

Chapter.  8588 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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